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Barnstead man sentenced for sexual abuse of teenage girl

Union Leader Correspondent

November 20. 2017 10:14PM

George Colbath, 64, of Barnstead was sentenced to 25 to 60 years in prison on Monday after being convicted in September of 17 counts of rape against a teenage girl. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

LACONIA — A Barnstead man convicted of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage girl by using manipulation and even threats to sell the horse she loved, was sentenced to 25 to 60 years in prison on Monday.

“What you did is a profound betrayal of trust. In effect you are a thief of the victim’s childhood,” Judge Larry Smukler told George Colbath, 64, as he stood shackled before him.

Following a two-week trial in Belknap County Superior Court that concluded Sept. 13, a jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning guilty verdicts on all 17 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Defense Attorney Mark Sisti asked the judge to stay his order authorizing Barnstead and Alton police to either return or destroy evidence in the case for 30 days, as he plans to file an appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Sisti said his client denies the allegations and did not wish to make any comment during the sentencing hearing. Colbath is being treated for both skin and bladder cancer, his lawyer said.

“The allegations in whole have been denied. The state’s sentence is excessive and quite frankly is life without parole,” Sisti said.

“George is a coward, not to own up to what he did,” the victim said. “It devastated me at first that he lied and didn’t take responsibility. But, over time, I’ve evaluated it and see that it’s part of his character it’s who he is, a coward.

“I lost out on my childhood, he should lose out on the rest of his life. I am asking you to make it so I never have to think about him or hear the name George Colbath again,” she told the judge.

The woman with whom the victim now lives described how Colbath kept the victim cloistered and made her believe that her own family was uncaring and that no one would believe her if she disclosed the abuse.

“I now know that (the victim) was being punished any time she would attempt to refuse to participate in a heinous sexual act that George Colbath regularly forced her to participate in,” she said. “No person committing crimes as disturbing and graphic as those in this case should ever be free to roam the streets and put other children at risk.”

“He deserved to feel and understand what (the victim) felt like during those years of abuse, to know what it means to lose your freedom, to lose your autonomy, and to have the control of your life be in the hands of someone else,” the woman said in asking the judge to “punish” Colbath “for the violent and unthinkable crimes he committed on a vulnerable child.”

Colbath initially stood trial in January, but following six days of testimony, Judge Peter Fauver ruled that the wording in the indictments outlining the charges against Colbath were lacking, and as a result the case couldn’t go to the jury.

In court on Monday, the victim recounted how difficult it was to testify about the abuse not once but twice.

“It’s a painful thing to do, I don’t think people can really understand it unless they’ve been through it,” she said.

In arguing for a 30-year sentence, prosecutor Annaliese Wolf said sexual victims suffer throughout the course of their life.

“George has been a weasel looking to escape responsibility and has continued to manipulate,” Wolf said.

Colbath was credited with serving 128 days in pretrial confinement and will be eligible to have five years of one of his minimum sentences suspended if he completes the sexual offender program. Upon release he is to have no unsupervised contact with anyone under age 18, or any contact with the victim or her guardian.

Courts Crime Alton Barnstead Laconia

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